ESSA Bancorp, Inc. (the “Company”) (NASDAQ Global Market SM “ESSA”) the holding company for ESSA Bank & Trust (the “Bank”) today announced its operating results for the three months and year ended September 30, 2010. The Company reported net income of $1.0 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, for the three months ended September 30, 2010, as compared to net income of $1.4 million, or $0.11 per diluted share for the corresponding 2009 period. For the year ended September 30, 2010, the Company reported net income of $4.5 million, or $0.36 per diluted share, as compared to net income of $6.6 million, or $0.47 per diluted share for the corresponding 2009 period.
The decline in net income for the three months ended September 30, 2010, compared to the same period in 2009 was primarily the result of a decrease in net interest income due to tepid loan demand and historically low reinvestment rates which contributed to a decrease in the Company’s interest rate spread. Net income of $4.5 million, for the year ending September 30, 2010, which was also significantly affected by a year-over-year decrease in interest rate spread, also included a pre-tax write-down of $1.2 million in the value of the Company’s foreclosed real estate portfolio. The charge related to a single property in the Bank’s foreclosed real estate portfolio and was made during the first fiscal quarter of 2010 to reflect an updated appraisal. Net income for the year ended September 30, 2009, included a one-time tax benefit of $317,000 which was made during the first fiscal quarter of 2009. This benefit was related to the Company’s other-than-temporary impairment charge taken in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2008.
“A soft real estate market, continued low interest rates, and an unemployment rate slightly higher than our state and national averages are current realities in our market area. Slow growth, a declining net interest spread and a slight increase in our nonperforming assets are the consequences to our Company,” commented Gary S. Olson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. “Our operating results, while not where we would like them to be, are still strong compared to the majority of our industry peers. We continue to work toward growing our balance sheet by providing funds to qualified borrowers, improving our net interest spread by managing our interest costs and improving our credit quality by proactively working with our borrowers. Overall, we have a strong capital position and sound credit quality. We are confident in our continued ability to manage through the current economic environment and prosper as the economy improves.”